By Bronislaw Malinowski
Bronislaw Malinowski’s pathbreaking Argonauts of the Western Pacific is instantly a close account of alternate within the Melanesian islands and a manifesto of a modernist anthropology. Malinowski argued that the target of which the ethnographer should not lose sight is ‘to seize the native’s viewpoint, his relation to existence, to grasp his imaginative and prescient of his world.’ via bright evocations of Kula existence, together with the development and launching of canoes, fishing expeditions and the position of fable and magic among the Kula humans, Malinowski brilliantly describes an inter-island process of alternate - from presents from father to son to swapping fish for yams - round which a whole group revolves. A vintage of anthropology that did a lot to set up the primacy of painstaking fieldwork over the sooner anecdotal studies of shuttle writers, reporters and missionaries, it's a compelling perception right into a international now mostly misplaced from view. With a brand new foreword via Adam Kuper.
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Extra resources for Argonauts of the Western Pacific (Routledge Classics)
I would get out from under my mosquito net, to find around me the village life 37 beginning to stir, or the people well advanced in their working day according to the hour and also to the season, for they get up and begin their labours early or late, as work presses. As I went on my morning walk through the village, I could see intimate details of family life, of toilet, cooking, taking of meals; I could see the arrangements for the day’s work, people starting on their errands, or groups of men and women busy at some manufacturing tasks (see Plate III).
We have to study man, and we must study what concerns him most intimately, that is, the hold which life has on him. In each culture, the values are slightly different; people aspire after different aims, follow different impulses, yearn after a different form of happiness. In each culture, we find different institutions in which man 63 pursues his life-interest, different customs by which he satisfies his aspirations, different codes of law and morality which reward his virtues or punish his defections.
Indeed, the object of scientific training is to provide the empirical investigator with a mental chart, in accordance with which he can take his bearings and lay his course. To return to our example, a number of definite cases discussed will reveal to the Ethnographer the social machinery for punishment. This is one part, one aspect of tribal authority. Imagine further that by a similar method of inference from definite data, he arrives at understanding leadership in war, in economic enterprise, in tribal festivities—there he has at once all the data necessary to answer the questions about tribal government and social authority.
Argonauts of the Western Pacific (Routledge Classics) by Bronislaw Malinowski